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Guiding Light Awards: Washington, DC | CANCELLED

Event Date & Time: Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Busboys and Poets | 2021 14th St. NW, Washington, DC
Join the Conversation: #GuidingLightDC

    Cancellation Notice

    In this moment of crisis, many of us are realizing that the best way to preserve our health, the health of our families, and the health of our communities is to care for one another. In a time where it is easy to feel isolated and separated, we must use our resources to protect the most vulnerable and keep our social bonds intact. 

    In this spirit, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our upcoming Guiding Light Awards, scheduled for March 31 in Washington DC. 

    We are particularly disappointed because we were excited to come together to honor the extraordinary leadership of this year’s awardees: Ibram X. Kendi, Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, Kim Anderson, Executive Director of the National Education Association, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Andy Shallal, Artist & Founder of Busboys and Poets. 

    We had great ambitions for this year’s celebration – 2020 was going to be the first year where we would exceed our fundraising goals. We are, of course, working quickly to adapt. We are in the process of developing a new plan, pivoting to virtual programming, as we face an aggressive fundraising hurdle without the event. Stay tuned for more details to come!

    In the meantime, if you were planning to buy a ticket or sponsor the event, please consider making a tax-deductible gift to CPD instead. We have enormous amounts of work to do. Please give today.

    Aaron Black  
    Sarah Burgess
    Aaron Dorfman
    Susan Friedman
    Alexis Goldstein
    Vanita Gupta
    Jane Henderson    
    Dushaw Hockett  
    Jon Liss  
    Amy Loudermilk
    LaDon Love  
    Lorella Praeli
    Phil Radford  
    Takei Roach  
    Alethea Shapiro
    Gustavo Torres
    Tonya Turner  
    Dorian Warren

    The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) works to create equity, opportunity and a dynamic democracy in partnership with high-impact base-building organizations, organizing alliances, and progressive unions. CPD strengthens our collective capacity to envision and win an innovative pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda. CPD builds the power of communities to ensure the country embodies our vision of an inclusive, equitable society -- where people of color, immigrants, working families, women, and LGBTQ communities thrive together, supported by a resilient economy and political institutions that reflect our priorities. CPD’s role is especially important at a time when our communities are being threatened and the institutions that sustain us are under attack. Learn more.

    For questions or other ways to support CPD, contact giving@populardemocracy.org.


    About Special Guests

    Kim A. Anderson

    Executive Director of the National Education Association

    Kim A. Anderson is the Executive Director of the National Education Association, America’s largest union, with 3 million members. She is the first woman and first person of color to serve in this role. Before becoming NEA’s Executive Director, Anderson was Executive Vice President of the Democracy Alliance where she managed the DA’s programs, staff, and budget and built deep partnerships to develop investment strategies to address everything from civic empowerment, voting rights and expansion of the electorate to winning state and local elections, progressive leadership development, and climate justice. Before her time at DA was at the National Education Association for more than 15 years, leading some of NEA’s most innovative and successful national campaigns, including NEA’s seminal campaign to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, the culmination of a 12-year effort to replace the test-and-punish regime of No Child Left Behind. One of her proudest achievements was assisting NEA affiliates to align student-centered advocacy and labor-community partnerships and organizing to enhance public education for students and respect for educators’ expertise.

    Ibram X. Kendi

    Author & Founding Director of The Antiracist Research & Policy Center

    Ibram X. Kendi is a New York Times bestselling author and the founding director of The Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. A professor of history and international relations, Kendi is a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of The Black Campus Movement, which won the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize, and Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction.  Kendi was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and he was honored on The Root 100 in 2019, which listed him as the 15th most influential African American between the ages of 25 and 45 and the most influential college professor. In August, Kendi’s third book, How to Be an Antiracist, debuted at no. 2 on the New York Times bestseller list and was hailed by the New York Times as “the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.” Ibram lives in Washington, D.C.

    Nancy Pelosi

    Speaker of the House of Representatives

    Nancy Pelosi is the 52nd Speaker of the House of Representatives, having made history in 2007 when she was elected the first woman to serve as Speaker.  Now in her third term as Speaker, Pelosi made history again in January 2019 when she regained her position second-in-line to the presidency, the first person to do so in more than 60 years.  As Speaker, Pelosi is fighting for the people, working to lower health care costs, increase workers’ pay through strong economic growth and rebuilding America, and cleaning up corruption to make Washington work for all.  

    For 32 years, Speaker Pelosi has represented San Francisco, California’s 12th Congressional District, in Congress.  She has led House Democrats for 16 years and previously served as House Democratic Whip. Pelosi brings to her leadership position a distinguished record of legislative accomplishment.  She led the Congress in passing historic health insurance reform, key investments in college aid, clean energy and innovation, and initiatives to help small businesses and veterans.  She has been a powerful voice for civil rights and human rights around the world for decades.  Pelosi comes from a strong family tradition of public service in Baltimore.  Married to Paul Pelosi, she is a mother of five and grandmother of nine.


    Andy Shallal

    Founder & Proprietor, Busboys and Poets

    Andy Shallal is an artist, social entrepreneur who strives to make his hometown of Washington, D.C. a more livable community. He is the founder of Busboys and Poets, an environment where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted, which has become a home for progressives, artists and intellectuals including Howard Zinn, Alice Walker and Nikki Giovanni among others. Busboys and Poets is a member of the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) focusing on sustainable business and employment practices.  It has been at the forefront of environmental stewardship as one of the first businesses in Washington, D.C. to be 100% wind powered and is at the cutting edge of the local/sustainable food movement. Andy also serves on the board of trustees for the Institute for Policy Studies and is a founding member of Think Local First DC, a local business association.

    Mumu Fresh

    GRAMMY-Nominated Singer, MC, Songwriter, Activist and Acclaimed Hip Hop artist

    Maimouna Youssef (Mumu Fresh) is a GRAMMY-Nominated singer, MC, songwriter, activist and acclaimed Hip Hop artist who’s been called a “quadruple threat” by The Roots’ Black Thought and “groundbreaking” by Oscar-winning artist, Common.

    In 2018, Maimouna Youssef became the songwriter and voice of Ford Motor Company’s “Roll On” campaign celebrating Women of Color, and was awarded the prestigious post of “Musical Ambassador for The United States,” travelling to Central America to support the rights of young women. Maimouna’s Afro-Native roots and rich activist history have spawned collaborations with philanthropic leaders including W.K. Kellogg Foundation, IMAN, Congressional Black Caucus, and Global Citizens Festival. Mumu performed at the BET Black Girls Rock! Awards and received a standing ovation for her soul-stirring performance of her song “Say My Name” honoring Sandra Bland and the Mothers of the Movement (M.O.M), which is a group of women whose African American Children have been killed by police brutality or gun violence. Later that year, she delivered a soulfully nostalgic tribute to hip hop supergroup and cultural pioneers Arrested Development with gospel artists Mali Music, Travis Greene and rapper Dee-1 that aired on Black Music Honors.

    As a songwriter, she’s co-written songs with and for artists like Grammy and Oscar winner Common, Glenn Lewis, The Roots, Disney’s Vanessa Hudgins, hip Hop Duo, Dead Prez, Indigenous rapper and dancer Supaman, and Oddisee among others.

    As a performer, Maimouna has shared the stage with countless icons and legends in the making including: The Roots, Dave Chappelle, Sting, Bobby McFerrin, Lala Hathaway, Erykah Badu, Rapsody, Burna Boy, BJ The Chicago Kid, Common, Mali Music, Lauryn Hill, Ed Sheeran, Billy Ray Cyrus, D’Angelo, Femi Kuti, Aloe Blacc, Zap Mama, Bruno Mars, and Nas.


    Producer, Music Storyteller, Activist and Artist

    Hailed as a “music guru” by Rolling Stone and called "the most creative mixtape producer of all-time” by music icon Questlove, J.PERIOD is a master craftsman: a musical storyteller whose work connects cultures, eras and styles.

    J.PERIOD's resume boasts collaborations with GRAMMY® winners The Roots, Nas, Q-Tip,  Kanye West, Common, Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda on the Billboard #1 and RIAA-certified Gold album, The Hamilton Mixtape.

    His extensive roster  of collaborators, combined with a visionary approach to musical storytelling, has earned comparisons  to both DJ Khaled and Ken Burns. In 2018,  it also earned J.PERIOD an appointment  as a founding member of The Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council. “Make no mistake,” says DJ Booth, “as to the power of J.PERIOD’s impact and influence on hip hop culture."        

    As a composer, J.PERIOD's work has been featured in film and TV (American Gangster, NBA Inside Stuff,   The Doctor), earning an EMMY®. His groundbreaking work as Music Supervisor for the Brooklyn Nets at  Barclays Center was lauded as “the new standard” for music in NBA arenas (ESPN). In 2018,  J.PERIOD headlined Sony Hall NYC, The Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and was featured at The Roots Picnic. He also works as a Tour DJ for artists including Black   Thought,  The Roots, Lauryn Hill, and Q-Tip.

    Rev. William Barber

    Founder of the Poor Peoples Campaign

    Rev. William Barber, Founder of the Poor Peoples Campaign is an American Protestant minister and political activist. As the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) North Carolina state chapter, he has been at the forefront of major civil protests within and outside the state, beginning with the Moral Mondays civil-rights protests held at Raleigh in 2013. In May 2017, Barber together with Liz Theoharis started the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival in honor of the original 1968 Poor People’s Campaign by Martin Luther King. The movement demands federal and state living wage laws, equity in education,  an end to mass incarceration, a single-payer health-care system, and protection of the right to vote.

    Lonnie Bunch

    14th Secretary of the Smithsonian

    Lonnie Bunch, 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian is an American educator and historian. He became the first African American to lead the Smithsonian Institution in its 173-year history after he was elected the 14th Secretary of the institution on May 28, 2019. Prior to that, he was the founding director of the Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. He also served on the Commission for the Preservation of the White House during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s administrations. A widely published author, Bunch has written on a wide range of topics. He was awarded the Freedom Medal in 2019 by the Roosevelt Institute for his contributions to American culture as a historian and storyteller.

    Barbara Ehrenreich

    American Author and Political Activist

    Barbara Ehrenreich is an American author and political activist who describes herself as a “myth buster by trade.” Throughout her career, she has worked as a freelance writer and she is widely known for her non-fiction reportage, book reviews and social commentary on major tabloids across the country. Ehrenreich is perhaps best known for her 2011 book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. The book is a memoir of Ehrenreich’s three-month experiment surviving on minimum wage as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart clerk.  Ehrenreich has served as founder, advisor or board member to many organizations. She also had a stint as in academics, working as a professor at New York University, University of Missouri and Sangamon State University between 1979 and 1981.

    Alicia Garza

    Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter

    Alicia Garza, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter is an American civil rights activist and editorial writer. Over the years, she has organized and led campaigns around the issues of health, student services and rights, rights for domestic workers, ending police brutality, anti-racism, and many others. Most notably, she co-birthed the Black Lives Matter movement along with fellow activists Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi in response to the killings of black people by police and recent media and racial disparities within the U.S. criminal legal system. Garza also served as the director of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) in the San Francisco Bay Area, during which she won the right for youth to use public transportation for free in the area.

    Mary Kay Henry

    President SEIU

    Mary Kay Henry, President SEIU is the first woman to be elected International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on May 8, 2010. Before her election as the president, Henry had held several positions within the organization since joining as a researcher in 1980. While serving with the union in California as the organizing director, she helped pioneer SEIU’s use of card check agreements, non-tradition collective bargaining agreements, comprehensive campaigns, and system-wide health care organizing strategies. She also helped negotiate a “no-raid agreement” between SEIU and the United American Nurses in 2006. As the president of SEIU, she is a major advocate for labor rights, immigrants’ rights and LGBT rights.

    Congressman Jamie Raskin

    Representative (MD 8th District)

    Congressman Jamie Raskin, US Maryland, is an author and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 8th congressional district since 2017. He is best known in the House for sponsoring legislation to establish a congressional “oversight” commission with the authority to declare a President “incapacitated” and removed from office under the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Prior to this position, he was a Maryland State Senator for district 20 from 2007 to 2016, where he sponsored bills advocating the repeal of the death penalty in Maryland, the expansion of the state ignition interlock device program, legalization of medical marijuana and the establishment of the legal guidelines for benefit corporations. Raskin also helped lead the fight to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland.

    John C. Stocks

    Chairman of the Board of Directors, Democracy Alliance

    John C. Stocks is the Chairman of the board of directors of the Democracy Alliance. He began his career as a community organizer, political strategist and one-term Idaho senator. He served as the Assistant Executive Director for Public Affairs at the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) from 1990 to 2003 overseeing the Public Relations, Legislative, Political Action and Teaching and learning departments. After leaving WEAC, he was appointed Executive Director of the National Education Association (NEA) – the nation’s largest union representing three million educators and students. While at NEA, he was at the center of the Association’s efforts to champion a movement for great public schools for every student. He stepped down from the NEA in 2019.